In another first-ever milestone, the BlueWalker 3 low Earth orbit satellite communicated with everyday smartphones reaching initial download speeds above 10 Mbps during Hawaii testing
AST SpaceMobile (NASDAQ: ASTS), the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, announced it has achieved repeated successful download speeds above 10 Mbps during testing of BlueWalker 3. Space-based cellular communications at 4G speeds using unmodified smartphones is another world first telecommunications achievement by AST SpaceMobile.
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Engineers conducted download speed tests in Hawaii during June using multiple everyday, off-the-shelf smartphones. The 4G LTE download speed testing, which used AT&T spectrum and Nokia RAN technology, reached initial speeds up to 10.3 Mbps, with further testing of voice calls to AT&T employees. Evaluation of BlueWalker 3’s capabilities continues, with enablement of 5G cellular broadband as the next major test activity.
“AST SpaceMobile’s space-based cellular capabilities are designed to be a critical extension for cellular communications. In addition to supporting basic voice and text that we expect from phones, it would also enable users to browse the internet, download files, use messaging apps or stream video,” said Abel Avellan, Chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile. “Achieving this milestone from an unmodified, standard cell phone on the ground connecting through our low Earth orbit satellite is another groundbreaking moment in telecommunications history and an important step toward AST SpaceMobile’s goal of bringing broadband services to parts of the world where cellular coverage is either unreliable or simply does not exist today.”
Chris Sambar, Head of AT&T Network, said: “Successfully reaching double-digit download speeds during satellite-to-smartphone testing takes us one step closer to ensuring people across the United States will be able to stay connected no matter their location. This milestone wouldn’t be possible without the overall focus and determination of the teams working daily to achieve our shared space-based vision of connectivity.”
Alberto Ripepi, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone, said: “Each mobile milestone in Vodafone’s history has moved us closer to connectivity for all. Achieving these mobile speeds, via satellite direct to standard 4G smartphones, shrinks the digital divide even further. Together with Vodacom and AST SpaceMobile, we look forward to bringing this capability to our customers in the hardest to reach areas of Africa and Europe.”
Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “This is an important milestone that will see real mobile broadband connectivity delivered directly to smartphones from space via AST SpaceMobile’s platform. As the RAN provider, we are proud to play a role in this important initiative that will provide crucial connectivity around the world.”
Today’s news follows other recent world’s first announcements from AST SpaceMobile as the company readies its technology for commercialization. On April 25, AST SpaceMobile announced it had completed the first-ever space-based voice calls using everyday unmodified smartphones. Paving the way for these achievements was the successful deployment of BlueWalker 3, which is the largest-ever commercial communications array deployed in low-Earth orbit and designed to communicate directly with cellular devices via 3GPP standard frequencies at 5G speeds. In its now unfolded position, the satellite spans 693 square feet in size, a design feature critical to support a space-based cellular broadband network.
AST SpaceMobile technology is designed to expand coverage for wireless companies, filling in gaps and dead zones in their networks. This could help bring cellular broadband services to hundreds of millions of people across the globe who still lack access to reliable cellular service. The company has agreements and understandings with more than 35 mobile network operators globally that have approximately 2 billion existing subscribers, including Vodafone Group, Rakuten Mobile, AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Telefonica, TIM, Saudi Telecom Company, Zain KSA, Etisalat, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison, Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, Millicom, Smartfren, Telecom Argentina, Telstra, Africell, Liberty Latin America and others. Vodafone, Rakuten, American Tower, Samsung NEXT and Bell Canada are also investors in AST SpaceMobile.
About AST SpaceMobile
AST SpaceMobile, Inc. is building the first and only global cellular broadband network in space to operate directly with standard, unmodified mobile devices based on our extensive IP and patent portfolio. Our engineers and space scientists are on a mission to eliminate the connectivity gaps faced by today's five billion mobile subscribers and finally bring broadband to the billions who remain unconnected. For more information, follow AST SpaceMobile on YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Watch this video for an overview of the SpaceMobile mission.
This communication contains “forward-looking statements” that are not historical facts, and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results of AST SpaceMobile to differ materially from those expected and projected. These forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including the words “believes,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “potential,” “projects,” “predicts,” “continue,” or “should,” or, in each case, their negative or other variations or comparable terminology.
These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from the expected results. Most of these factors are outside AST SpaceMobile’s control and are difficult to predict. Factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to: (i) expectations regarding AST SpaceMobile’s strategies and future financial performance, including AST’s future business plans or objectives, expected functionality of the SpaceMobile Service, anticipated timing and results of the BW3 test satellite tests, anticipated timing and level of deployment of satellites, anticipated demand and acceptance of mobile satellite services, prospective performance and commercial opportunities and competitors, the timing of obtaining regulatory approvals, ability to finance its research and development activities, commercial partnership acquisition and retention, products and services, pricing, marketing plans, operating expenses, market trends, revenues, liquidity, cash flows and uses of cash, capital expenditures, and AST’s ability to invest in growth initiatives; (ii) the negotiation of definitive agreements with mobile network operators relating to the SpaceMobile service that would supersede preliminary agreements and memoranda of understanding; (iii) the ability of AST SpaceMobile to grow and manage growth profitably and retain its key employees and AST SpaceMobile’s responses to actions of its competitors and its ability to effectively compete; (iv) changes in applicable laws or regulations; (v) the possibility that AST SpaceMobile may be adversely affected by other economic, business, and/or competitive factors; (vi) the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against AST SpaceMobile; and (vii) other risks and uncertainties indicated in the Company’s filings with the SEC, including those in the Risk Factors section of AST SpaceMobile’s Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 31, 2023.
The ongoing testing of the BW3 satellite may not be completed due to a variety of factors, which could include loss of satellite connectivity, destruction of the satellite, or other communication failures, and even if completed, the BW3 testing may indicate adjustments that are needed or modifications that must be made, any of which could result in additional costs, which could be material, and delays in commercializing our service. If there are delays or issues with additional testing, it may become more costly to raise capital, if we are able to do so at all.
AST SpaceMobile cautions that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive. AST SpaceMobile cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. For information identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements, please refer to the Risk Factors incorporated by reference into AST SpaceMobile’s Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 31, 2023. AST SpaceMobile’s securities filings can be accessed on the EDGAR section of the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Except as expressly required by applicable securities law, AST SpaceMobile disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.